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Board Welcomes Progress on Health Reform


Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board John Compton has welcomed the Ministerial announcement on the major health and social care reform which he said will significantly transform care in Northern Ireland for the better.

During the recent consultation period, led by the Health and Social Care Board, 97% of people agreed that health and social care services need to change to promote health and well-being.

Speaking after the Health Committee on Wednesday 20th March, Mr Compton thanked the public for taking part and said their views were vital in reshaping health and social care in Northern Ireland into the future.

“We engaged extensively with a wide range of people, groups and organisations during the consultation period and we listened and took on board their views.

“The public overwhelmingly said that they wanted to see real change and we believe there is now a strong foundation on which to plan the changes.

“We will continue to proceed with energy to make the change happen over the next 3-5 years. It is essential we continue to promote good health decisions; prevent ill health in the first place; achieve better outcomes when ill health does occur and enable people to live healthily and independently for as long as possible,” the HSCB Chief Executive said.

Amongst the main themes that emerged from the consultation were as follows:

bullet list The need to ensure that investment is focussed on making change happen, and that alternatives are in place and working effectively before change occurs;
bullet list A greater focus on how we support carers as a key partner in care provision;
bullet list Workforce as a key enabler to implementation;
bullet list Importance of engaging with the voluntary and community sector;
bullet list Need for government bodies and agencies to work together to address health inequalities and be more ‘joined up’.

Mr Compton added: “As we move forward it is really important that we continue to implement change in a measured and thoughtful way in conjunction with patients and service users, HSC organisations and the wider public sector, carers, professional and clinical leads, the voluntary and community sector and a wide range of other stakeholders.

“This will be essential for ensuring that any changes are sustainable and can make a difference for everyone.

“We look forward to the introduction of Integrated Care Partnerships which will see doctors, nurses, social workers, other healthcare professionals and the voluntary and community sector working together to keep people well and making sure they get the care they need, when they need it.

“We will also continue to embrace new technology to support people to live the lives they want; and provide care closer to home where it is appropriate to do so.

“When I think of change I think of Ray. Ray returned to Northern Ireland to live with his niece. His niece took ill and she was unable to care for Ray. Ray would normally have had to go to a Residential Care Facility as no other family members were able to care for him.

“Ray now lives independently in an apartment at Cedar Court, Downpatrick. He enjoys hot cooked meals made by staff when required and regularly attends the daily activities offered by the facility. The apartment has all the health and safety mod cons required to ensure his safety at all times. Ray enjoys his independence and liked to travel into town on his mobile scooter but more recently now walks into town or takes the bus. Help is at hand when he needs it. The facility is manned 24/7 by South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust staff.

“We transformed care for Ray and are confident we will do the same for you.”